Mumbai: Storming his way into the telecom industry, India’s richest man Mukesh Ambani on Thursday announced free voice calls and free national roaming along with rock- bottom data prices on his new Reliance Jio network that will debut on September 5. Ambani is targeting 100 million customers in the shortest time possible.
Addressing at the 42nd AGM, Mukesh Ambani said: “Worldwide operators charge only for data. Voice and messages are free. All voice calls for Jio customer will be absolutely free. The era of paying for voice calls is ending. Jio will usher India into the new era.” Devoting two-third of his 90-minute speech at Reliance Industries’ shareholder meet to make a slew of announcements on Jio, Sr Ambani took competition head-on by announcing free services on Jio for four months beginning September 5.
Telecom operators not only have legal obligation to provide points of interconnect to other operators, but also can’t limit customers’ right to migrate to Jio using Mobile Number Portability.Mukesh Ambani
Voice calling will be free on Jio phones for life and post December 31, 10 data plans will be offered starting at Rs 19 a day for occasional users, Rs 149 a month for low data users and Rs 4,999 a month for heavy data users. Ambani stopped short, however, of calling January 1 as the commercial launch of Jio which will offer only fourth- generation or 4G services in the world’s second-largest smartphone market.
“Customers should pay for only one service, either voice or data. Not both. The era of paying for voice calls is ending. No Jio customer will ever have to pay for voice calls again,” he said.
RelianceJio offers free voice calls and free national roaming. In addition to this, it’s 5 to 10 times lower data tariff at Rs 25-50 per GB depending on data usage. Mukesh Ambani has also announced a 25 per cent more data for students, 1 million Wi-Fi hotspots across the country, best-ever international calling rates, unlimited subscription to Jio app and special solutions for enterprises.
Ambani also announced that there will be no national roaming charges for Jio users. For data, Ambani has set an aggressive rate of five paisa per MB or Rs 50 per GB. And the more data you use, the lower the rate. Data packs available in the market have an effective rate of about Rs 250 per GB. With Jio, it’s 5 to 10 times lower, Rs 25-50 per GB depending on your data usage.
He also announced a 25 per cent more data for students, 1 million Wi-Fi hotspots across the country, best-ever international calling rates, unlimited subscription to Jio app and special solutions for enterprises. Jio’s data, voice, video and full bouquet of Jio applications and content will be available for everyone, absolutely free, till December 31, 2016, he said promising to offer data speeds of up to 1 gigabyte per second.
He didn’t mince words when talking about the competition, asking them not to misuse their market power by creating unfair hurdles, when it comes to providing points of interconnect between their networks and Jio’s networks. “Telecom operators not only have legal obligation to provide points of interconnect to other operators, but also can’t limit customers’ right to migrate to Jio using Mobile Number Portability,” he said.
He said roaming charges will also be nil across India for Jio customers. Stating that the data must be affordable, he said “Jio’s base rate will be one-tenth of the prevailing data rates. In our data plans, the effective rates will be 5p per MB or Rs 50 per GB. The more data you use, the lower will be the rate.”
Differentiating Jio’s 4G services from others in the market, he said that pricing strategy should be simple for every India. There are 22,000 telecom tariffs across country. Jio’s pricing strategy only has 10 main plans, he said promising that Jio users would also not face any blackout days such as Diwali and New Year when operators tend to charge double.
Ambani also announced a discount offer for students under which they will get 25 per cent more data on Jio’s tariffs. Under the free welcome offer, which Ambani termed as the largest introductory offer anywhere in the world, the company is offering free data, voice and video to everyone absolutely free starting September 5 till December 31, 2016.